NEWS - Thursday, March 13, 2014

Spencer: Microsoft plans to be more 'direct and honest' with fans

Microsoft Game Studios vice president Phil Spencer said that Microsoft could have done a better job handling information regarding the Xbox One last summer, following the console’s reveal.

The Xbox One announcement last May was surrounded by confusion regarding the console’s always-online requirements and used game policy. Microsoft later reversed the daily online check-in and used game restriction policies in June, in response to consumer criticism. At a presentation at SXSW in Austin, Texas yesterday, Spencer said Microsoft didn’t effectively convey its message to consumers.

"I look at last summer and that wasn’t a high point for me, coming out of the announcement of Xbox One and E3, where I thought our messaging around what we believed in was confused –– mainly by us," Spencer said during the presentation with Spike TV’s Geoff Keighley, as recorded by YouYube user gerrenlaquint.

"I learned a ton last summer as a leader of our groups and in our company about being true to your core vision around what a product is, not being confusing, and frankly, when you’re going to say something to a consumer that might put them off, it’s better to just be direct and honest, rather than trying to sugar-coat something that might be controversial," Spencer said.

Before the end of 2013, Microsoft sold 3 million Xbox Ones following the console’s November launch. During that time, Spencer and other Microsoft executives and employees have attempted to be more active on social media, responding to customer questions and concerns, in an effort to better connect with fans.

"I’d rather deal with the controversy of what we’re doing, and have an above-table conversation about that topic, rather than trying to sugar-coat it with some other news," Spencer said. "One of the reasons I wanted to be a little more active socially was because I knew the core of why we were in this industry was not an evil reason... It was to really delight consumers and build a great product that millions and millions of people would love."



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